University of Washington ranks in top 10.

Business First, Buffalo NY, a sister publication of the Puget Sound Business Journal, evaluated public universities and colleges across the U.S. to determine which offers the best educational experience to their students. Top ranking schools had highly selective admissions criteria, strong retention and graduation rates and solid earnings by alumni, affordable tuition and housing costs, diverse faculties and student bodies, and were located in economically robust communities. The University of Washington ranked #7 from the 499 institutions in the study which puts them up there with top tier universities across the country.

Washington State has had a long history of academic excellence with two major academic research institutions, the UW and Washington State University, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Across the state there are 65 two- and four- year public and private higher education institutions preparing students for the demands of an ever-changing workplace. Business incubators and entrepreneurial support network help bring new ideas successfully to the marketplace.

Washington boasts a highly educated workforce, a pioneering spirit and a culture of creativity and collaboration that keeps businesses on the leading edge of innovation.

Read more in the Puget Sound Business Journal.

 

 

Washington State space and tech teams awarded NASA grants.

NASA LogoThe depth and breadth of expertise in aerospace and technology has positioned Washington State companies as leaders in outer space exploration. Seven Washington businesses have won a share of NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grants.

Out of 399 proposals, Bothell-based Tethers Unlimited had four proposals accepted and six other Washington companies, BluHaptics, Kymeta, MSNW, Sienna Technologies, Systima Technologies and Voxa, also presented winning proposals. These companies will further space exploration with remote robotics systems, small satellite data transmission, fusion energy powering to Mars and deep space destinations, advanced thruster technology and portable spectroscopic scanning microscopes.

Read more in Geekwire.

 

Vigor to add new dry dock, capacity.

A large vessel rests in a drydock, awaiting repairsWashington’s maritime sector got a big boost this week as Vigor Industrial agreed to purchase a dry dock from a South Korean company.

The dock, which is 640 feet long and 116 feet wide, will be the company’s largest in Washington State. It allows Vigor to add more boat building and maintenance capacity to its facility on Seattle’s Harbor Island.

The company had been searching for the right fit for several months and the $20 million dock will help the company expand into new markets and handle more customers.

Vigor hopes to transport the dock over the summer and have it operational by late fall.

Read more about the company’ new dry dock in the Business Journal.

Over 7 billion gallons saved.

Aviation Partners' blended winglets shown on a Boeing 737 in flightIf you find yourself staring at the tips of wings during your travels, wondering what those curvy wingtip additions do, Seattle-based Aviation Partners has the answer.

Their blended winglet technology has saved airlines and business jet operators an estimated seven billion gallons of jet fuel and counting, thanks to their unique role in reducing drag.

A joint partnership with Boeing, you’ll find these blended winglets on most of Boeing’s new planes, including the 737 and 767. The winglets reduce the drag that is produced by the end of the wing, where little mini tornadoes of air pressure caused by differences between the upper and lower part of the wing create turbulence.

By reducing this vortex of disrupted air, the blended winglets increase fuel efficiency, as much as 60% greater than conventional winglets that are angled rather than curved.

Find out more about these amazing Washington State innovations in this Puget Sound Business Journal article or check out the real-time fuel estimator on the Aviation Partners website.

Cleaner, quieter, faster air travel coming to an airport near you.

Zunum Aero hybrid electric airplaneHybrid electric cars are changing the auto industry and by 2020 Kirkland-based Zunum Aero plans to have hybrid electric airplanes taking off for regional air service. Utilizing the existing network of smaller community airports could reduce travel time and shift short-haul travel from metro airports, along with the environmental gains of  lower emissions and noise. Improvements in battery storage and software that calculates the needs for engine power has allowed for a revolutionary approach to powering aircraft. Anticipated benefits include lower operating costs and lower fares, cutting carbon emissions by 80%, reducing noise in the surrounding communities by 75% and returning cost-effective regional air travel to smaller communities. Partnering with Boeing and JetBlue Technology Ventures, Zunum expects to be manufacturing their first planes by 2020. Read more in the Puget Sound Business Journal and Geekwire.

Washington State has been a leader in aerospace technology for more than a century. Blend that expertise with the advances that Washington companies are making in clean technology, battery storage, advanced manufacturing and new materials, and software development across industry sectors, and you have the potential for making huge changes in the economics of air travel.

To learn more about aerospace, technology, clean tech and software development industries in Washington contact moreinfo@choosewashingtonstate.com

Cultivating entrepreneurs in Washington State.

watering canEconomic Gardening is a proven model for helping entrepreneurs move from a successful small business to a flourishing and mature company. Since its introduction in Washington State in 2016, over 20 second stage businesses have benefited from the peer learning, leadership education and strategic information provided through the Economic Gardening program.

Washington Vision Therapy Center is one of the first companies to graduate from the Economic Gardening program. Dr. Benjamin Winters had built a successful practice in Yakima and could see the potential of expansion into other cities. Through his mentoring in the Economic Gardening program, he developed a plan for a type of franchising that would allow an optometrist to operate independently and still benefit from franchise incentives. The Economic Gardening specialists helped Dr. Winters identify potential markets and evaluate various franchise frameworks.  Read more about Washington Vision Therapy Center’s experience.

Based in Lacy, Washington, SCJ Alliance, a planning and engineering firm, was generating more than $10 million in annual revenue. After completing the Economic Gardening program, the company opened a new office, added employees and sees potential of increasing annual revenue by $1 million. During a four-month period, Economic Gardening specialists helped the leadership team improve their digital marketing, expand opportunities with military and federal procurement, and identify new geographic market opportunities.

Read more about the benefits SCJ Alliance received through the program. 

If your second stage business is trying to get over the hump in terms of growth and expansion, contact the Washington State Department of Commerce, Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness office to see if you qualify for the Economic Gardening program. Email: anne.nelson@commerce.wa.gov  or call: 360-890-2003.

New batteries offer clean energy storage.

A row of Uni-Energy Technologies flow-battery storage systems provide storage for clean energy sourcesClean energy sources such as wind and solar have long offered a clear path to less pollution and greener energy.

However, storing it has been next to impossible, until now.

UniEnergy Technologies, based in Mukilteo, Washington, thinks it has found the answer: vanadium-flow batteries which store energy generated by solar arrays or wind turbines in a fluid that can then be discharged using an electro-chemical reaction. The vanadium molecule which makes this all work was developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington.

The company is currently building a storage system for the U.S. Navy in Port Hueneme, California and has installed a vanadium-flow battery for the Snohomish PUD in Everett.

“Washington is leading not just the country, but the world” in revolutionizing the power industry, said Gov. Jay Inslee. “We love clean energy not just because it’s clean, but because it is jobs,” too.

Learn more about this cutting-edge method for storing energy and Washington’s clean technology sector.

Blue Origin nabs prestigious award.

Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft clears the tower in a test flightJeff Bezo’s Blue Origin has been awarded the 2016 Robert J. Collier Trophy for “successfully demonstrating rocket booster reusability with the New Shepard human spaceflight vehicle through five successful test flights of a single booster and engine, all of which performed powered vertical landings on Earth,” the NAA said.

CEO Bezos and company join a who’s who of aviation and space pioneers in winning the trophy, including Orville Wright, Glenn Curtiss and SpaceShipOne.

The Collier Trophy is awarded annually to mark the year’s greatest achievement in U.S. aeronautics or astronautics. New Shepard and Blue Origin have also won the Heinlein Prize, Goddard Memorial Trophy and the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award, among other honors.

Blue Origin is another shining example of Washington’s emerging leadership in commercialized space, joining other companies such as Planetary Resources, Aerojet and Space X to create new ideas and innovations that lower the cost of space and expand our reach to the stars.

Learn more about Blue Origin’s award and learn more about Washington State’s space cluster.

Washington companies increase manufacturing efficiencies.

gaming controllerSometimes it’s the small things that make the biggest impacts. Washington technology companies are helping to improve the efficiency and production in a variety of advanced manufacturing and clean energy applications. For instance, BluHaptics, has developed software that helps control underwater robots. These days robotic operators have often spent their young adult years playing gaming consoles and transferring that skill set to real world applications is a natural. Using laser data and video-game technology, BluHaptics is making it easier and more effective for oil and gas companies and other marine industries to operate robots to clean and fix things underwater. Read more in The Seattle Times.

BluHaptics is one of eight Washington companies that will be attending Hannover Messe, the world’s leading industrial show, as part of the Washington State Department of Commerce delegation. Other Washington State innovators in the delegation include a fiberglass recycler, a producer of biomass energy systems, a developer of imaging technology for monitoring power plants, a producer of clean melting iron and coke free fuels, and a protective coatings company for wind turbines. The work of these Washington State companies increases industry productivity and capabilities, and reduces risk in a variety of industrial and energy production environments.

To learn more about Washington State’s participation in Hannover Messe click here.

 

 

 

 

Boomtown. Seattle skyline still dotted with cranes.

Seattle building boomThe growth spurt appears to be a strong and steady trend projecting out at least through 2019. The current building boom is primarily apartments for the growing workforce in Seattle. Major corporations are moving into downtown and the city is developing into a live/work and play hot spot. With mountain hiking, skiing and biking less than an hour away, and the ocean an easy drive in the other direction the Puget Sound region has an exceptional quality of life.  Amazon, Google, Facebook,  Weyerhaeuser and other major employers are expanding or moving downtown. Ethnic and fine dining establishments on nearly every corner, art studios and galleries, and live music and dance performance venues create a dynamic live/work environment. Read more in The Seattle Times.

From life sciences and clean energy to technology and advanced manufacturing, from aerospace to outer space the diverse economic drivers in Washington State have spurred a robust recession recovery with no hint of slowdown on the horizon.